Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books

Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books

Leah Price / Dec 15, 2019

Unpacking My Library Writers and Their Books As words and stories are increasingly disseminated through digital means the significance of the book as object whether pristine collectible or battered relic is growing as well Unpacking My Library

  • Title: Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books
  • Author: Leah Price
  • ISBN: 9780300180589
  • Page: 460
  • Format: ebook
  • As words and stories are increasingly disseminated through digital means, the significance of the book as object whether pristine collectible or battered relic is growing as well Unpacking My Library Writers and Their Books spotlights the personal libraries of thirteen favorite novelists who share their collections with readers Stunning photographs provide full viewAs words and stories are increasingly disseminated through digital means, the significance of the book as object whether pristine collectible or battered relic is growing as well Unpacking My Library Writers and Their Books spotlights the personal libraries of thirteen favorite novelists who share their collections with readers Stunning photographs provide full views of the libraries and close ups of individual volumes first editions, worn textbooks, pristine hardcovers, and childhood companions.In her introduction, Leah Price muses on the history and future of the bookshelf, asking what books can tell us about their owners and what readers can tell us about their collections Supplementing the photographs are Price s interviews with each author, which probe the relation of writing to reading, collecting, and arranging books Each writer provides a list of top ten favorite titles, offering unique personal histories along with suggestions for every bibliophile Unpacking My Library Writers and Their Books features the personal libraries of Alison Bechdel, Stephen Carter, Junot Diaz, Rebecca Goldstein and Steven Pinker, Lev Grossman and Sophie Gee, Jonathan Lethem, Claire Messud and James Wood, Philip Pullman, Gary Shteyngart, and Edmund White.

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      Published :2019-09-03T16:41:17+00:00

    About "Leah Price"

      • Leah Price

        Leah Price is an American literary critic who specializes in the British novel and in the history of the book She is Professor of English Literature at Harvard University, where at the age of 31 she became the first female assistant professor ever to be promoted to tenure.


    747 Comments

    1. Finding out that there are more people totally obsessed by literature and shamelessly addicted to buying books is always a sheer, comforting pleasure for me but I have the impression that this collection of interviews could have been better.Review to come.


    2. This is an interesting little book. My only real issue is the writers they chose to interview. Other than Alison Bechdel, the others were mostly literary fiction or critics of the stuffy variety. As more of a genre reader as I am, I found it difficult to care for what they offered. Having said though, the book is an easy read. You get a look into the books, their shelves, and the ways these folks think about books, how they relate to books. That part I did find interesting. The photography is ve [...]


    3. This is a very good idea for a book. I would say that it could only be done once, but I notice in my most perfunctory search of the title that there is at least another. UNPACKING MY LIBRARY heralds the shelves of books that writers collect. The thriteen writers featured here, talk about their reading tastes and discoveries. Then, their personal reading spaces and the collections of books they are reading, have read, or want to read, are depicted photographically. Unless the writers are in a gro [...]


    4. This book is a delightful short read. Price interviews 13 authors about their libraries and how each author feels about books versus electronic books, about lending books, about discarding books, about annotating and marking books, etc. The range of personalities will make the reader smile.


    5. This was a book with a fascinating premise and unusual illustrations. Price interviews thirteen writers (most were unfamiliar to me) and discusses their book collections and the insight to people that their bookshelves provide. The photos of each author's bookshelves add an interesting dimension to the overall impact. Price encourages the reader to consider the question, "What does your book collection tell people about you and your past?"What seems unlikely to change is our curiousity about wha [...]


    6. While preparing for my seventh move in a decade in January I sold, gave away, and donated about 1100 of my books. (I still kept five full shelves.) I picked up this little volume with my bookstore credit, intending to cut out some photographs to frame and hang on the bare walls of our new place. ~ A sort of funny referential joke for myself, about what's missing. Alas, I don't feel like doing that anymore. These authors' books and bookcases are personal, and eccentric, and look nothing like my o [...]


    7. I was going to give this two stars - it was okay - but it got bumped up to three for the photography, which is excellent.Of the thirteen writers included, I've only heard of three (nobody's fault but my own). The interviews are interesting but I would have preferred to have 'heard' more from them or, better still, to have had a wider range and number of writers.The photographs allow browsing their shelves which adds an extra dimension of interest but not enough to keep me engaged.I was left with [...]


    8. This book could have been SO much better - better edited, better photographs, more detail, more insight. I once saw a man's 2 personal libraries in the middle-of-nowhere Wyoming 30 miles from Cody that put all of these to shame. I'll never forget them.


    9. Interesting concept. I would love to see the libraries of writers that I am more familiar with. The folks in this book are extremely established and classy writers, don't get me wrongI don't feel like I read a lot of writers that draw on Chekov and Blake for inspiration. Very cool book though.



    10. Peluang meninjau apa yang ada di dalam perpustakaan penulis lain, akan menimbulkan rasa kagum atau mungkin cemburu. Di dalam buku ini, ada 13 orang penulis yang berkongsi imej foto perpustakaan masing-masing. Bukan soal sama ada pengarang ini dikenali atau tidak, yang penting ialah sesuatu yang sinonim antara pengarang dengan buku-bukunya. Setiap pengarang ada buku yang menjadi kegemaran dan inspirasinya. Lebih lusuh sesebuah buku, lebih banyaklah kenangan dan manfaat yang telah dialir keluar ke [...]


    11. We read books for different reasons: for pleasure, to learn, to go somewhere else and return home again. But there are other books we own for the pure joy of owning them—photography, art, vintage cars, collectibles. We spend time with these books when we want to relax and let our mind rest—they are companion books.If you love buying, collecting, reading and keeping books as much as I do, you will enjoy a great little book I recently discovered. “Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Book [...]


    12. This is an interesting read. Thirteen writers take us into their libraries and give a gander at the books on their shelves. The writer selections range from the famous (Steven Pinker and Philip Pullman) to a Pulitzer winner (Junot Diaz) to the obscure (Alison Bechdel and Edmund White). With a series of questions, we learn what makes these writers tick, how they organize their books, and whether they get rid of old books. Each writer has also selected ten recommendations.If you're a writer and ha [...]


    13. What does Alison Bechdel’s library look like? How did Junot Diaz catalogue his books? Where did Gary Shteyngart get his shelving? Leah Price has artfully photographed the personal libraries of thirteen of our favorite novelists, supplementing the beautiful images with an interview with each author and a list (readers LOVE lists!) of their top ten favorite titles. Along the way the writers remind us of the value of the book as an object that is to be revered, respected and loved. Other writers [...]


    14. Something of a guilty pleasure read, rife with pictures of bookcases. Little more than that, though, at least to me. I hadn't heard of most of these authors (one I had heard of and didn't like), and couldn't really relate to the books that they liked but I could relate to how they liked the books they did.


    15. Interestingly different! 10 authors talk about their home libraries picking 10 of their favorite books followed by 4or 5 pages of pictures of those libraries. If you are a book list reader, you will enjoy this quick "read"!


    16. Great cover. It would have been more interesting if the authors she chose to interview were more mainstream. I love to peek at what other people display on their bookshelves though.



    17. Interesting, if not all that informative. None of the collections featured are especially notable, but I like looking at other people's books.


    18. A fun and quick peek at 13 authors' personal libraries. I love perusing other people's bookshelves! I wish the author interviews had been a bit longer.


    19. If you read this sort of book [1], you likely know what kind of person you are.  To be sure, in reading this book I saw plenty of kindred spirits.  You know the type--people whose living places are buried in books, whose noses are buried in books, people who, like Beauty & The Beast's Belle are such notorious readers that their studiousness is confused with incivility and whose reading habits are so prolific that they make others feel a bit daunted in discussing books and reading, which ma [...]


    20. Unpacking My Library is a collection of interviews on the bookish habits of thirteen contemporary writers, accompanied by pictures of their libraries. It's a small book, perfect gift size, about 5 3/4 inches high by 8 inches in wide, and 201 pages.In her introduction Price writes that as a teenaged babysitter, when the parents left the house she went straight for the books—snooping in various places people keep/hide books before eventually making it to the official living room shelves. She off [...]


    21. I borrowed this book about the same time as "My Ideal Bookshelf" edited by Thessaly La Force.This book compared the bookshelves of 13 successful writers plus one cartoonist. I read a lot, and I have never encountered these writers or the books they wrote. But anyway. . .The editor asked the writers these questions:* How do they organized their books?* Do they write in their books?* How far back does their collection go?* Describe the Top 10 Books that you chose for this volume.* Do you keep your [...]


    22. I loved the photographs of the bookshelves, practically drooling over some of these authors’ personal libraries. However, I wanted to learn more about these people and how the books they owned lead to books they wrote. The only person who had an interview worth reading was Alison Bechdel as she actually talks about her own books, wryly commenting on how bookstores can’t seem to figure out how to categorize her.


    23. My one complaint about this book is the length; I would have gladly hefted a book three times its size so Price & Co could've added more authors and more photographs of their shelves. Give me the shelves of playwrights, of graphic novelists, of screenwriters and newspaperpeople and children's authors and poets! MORE BOOKSHELVES PLEASE. I love to snoop.


    24. Delightful. As satisfying as browsing another person's bookshelves. 13 living writers let us in on their bookcases and answer questions about their books such as "have you read all those books?"


    25. It was quite interesting reading about the libraries that authors keep in their homes! And seeing them as well kept me intrigued.



    26. I've never liked the idea of a hidden book. It means no one will ever randomly pick it up and have a conversation with you about it. Unsurprisingly, Junot Díaz gives the best interview of the bunch.


    27. Fun! Photos and interviews with a range of writers about their libraries and personal history and relationship with books. And each gives a "top 10" from their collection.All of the writers profiled are thoughtful and engaging except for Jonathan Lethem, who still seems to have the adolescent urge to prove how unique, unusual, clever, and "different" he is. Time to grow up, Jonathan.But the others are worth several looks. Some things I learned: they write in their books. Mostly, they have troubl [...]


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